Innovation in the sports industry is constantly evolving, with activity driven by digital advancements, high-level of social media interactions, broad appeal for immersive sports experience, and fan engagement, as well as the growing importance of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT, robotics, cloud, data analytics, wearable tech and many more. In the last three years alone, there have been over 48,000 patents filed and granted in the sports industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Sports: Remote athletic performance monitoring.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

20+ innovations will shape the sports industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the sports industry using innovation intensity models built on over 101,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, neurostimulation exercisers is a disruptive technology that is in the early stage of application and should be tracked closely. Environmental sensors, performance monitoring sports equipment, and vitals monitoring exercisers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are outdoor sporting navigation systems and remote athletic performance monitoring, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the sports industry

Remote athletic performance monitoring is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) technology has revolutionised the sports industry global market. IoT-based technologies are broadly and effectively used in performance evaluation and monitoring an athlete’s internal and external workloads, physiological status, activity recognition and tracking techniques.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of remote athletic performance monitoring.

Key players in remote athletic performance monitoring – a disruptive innovation in the sports industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to remote athletic performance monitoring

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 698 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 106 Unlock company profile
adidas 78 Unlock company profile
FitStar Labs 52 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 50 Unlock company profile
Amer Sports 44 Unlock company profile
Apple 33 Unlock company profile
Whoop 27 Unlock company profile
Casio Computer 25 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 24 Unlock company profile
Fox Factory Holding 21 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 21 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 20 Unlock company profile
Immersion 19 Unlock company profile
Seiko Epson 17 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 16 Unlock company profile
Interactive Strength 15 Unlock company profile
Polar Electro 15 Unlock company profile
CEA 13 Unlock company profile
F45 Training 13 Unlock company profile
Teijin 12 Unlock company profile
Xiaomi 12 Unlock company profile
Pentland Group Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
Nautilus 11 Unlock company profile
Icon Ip 11 Unlock company profile
Swatch Group 10 Unlock company profile
Blast Motion 8 Unlock company profile
TDK 8 Unlock company profile
Tonal Systems 7 Unlock company profile
Sportsmedia Technology 7 Unlock company profile
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland 7 Unlock company profile
MAD DOGG ATHLETICS 7 Unlock company profile
Penumbra 6 Unlock company profile
2nd Skull 6 Unlock company profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 6 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Zhor-Tech 5 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 5 Unlock company profile
Technogym 5 Unlock company profile
Under Armour 5 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 5 Unlock company profile
Omron 5 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKE is one of the leading patent filers in remote athletic performance monitoring. The NIKE+™ athletic performance monitoring system (available from NIKE of Beaverton, Oreg.) provides a convenient system and method that allows individuals to measure and collect data relating to ambulatory exercise, such as walking or running, using a NIKE+™. Some other key patent filers in the remote athletic performance monitoring industry include Alphabet, adidas, FitStar Labs, and Samsung Group.

In terms of application diversity, Sportsmedia Technology leads the pack. Whoop and FitStar Lab stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Amer Sports holds the top position, followed by Xiaomi and Teijin. To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the sports industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Internet of Things in Sport.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.